Helena’s public schools are at the center of our community.

They serve as gathering places for public meetings, sports contests and other events that bring friends and neighbors together.

They lay the groundwork for individual students to succeed in life by teaching academics, social skills and how to be a good citizen.

They help secure our future by bringing up the next generation of business and civic leaders who hold our fate in their hands.

Our public schools have helped make Helena the special place we all know and love. And our community’s sizable investment in three new elementary school buildings will help ensure they continue to benefit the lives of current and future Helenans for many years to come.

Last week marked the first day of school in the newly constructed Central, Bryant and Jim Darcy elementary schools, which were built with funds from a $63 million bond approved by voters in 2017. This is a historic time for Helena, which had not previously opened a new school since Four Georgians Elementary School was built more than 40 years ago.

The community’s support of this project sends a clear message that Helena understands and appreciates the value of a quality education and the public schools that make it freely available to everyone.

That is something worth celebrating, and the Independent Record is marking the occasion with a special keepsake publication produced in partnership with Helena Public Schools.

Included in today’s newspaper, the special section includes photos and stories that explain the history of the three new schools and what they offer now. The publication also contains letters of gratitude from several school district officials, including the three principals who now oversee the new school buildings.

As several school district officials noted, these schools are not just there for students. They are there for the community that invested in them.

And we trust that investment will continue to pay dividends for a very long time.

This is the opinion of the Independent Record editorial board. 

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